For the past three years Heritage High School football coach Brint Russell has made it a point to be sure his football team was the first in the state to put on pads and hit.
This year the Heritage High School football Booster Club is taking it a step further by expanding the coach’s midnight practice session into a festival, complete with games for children, food vendors and eight bands. This all leads up to the smack of pads at midnight on July 31, with Aug. 1 being the first day the TSSAA allows high schools to practice in pads.
Midnight Madness Festival will be an all-day event, beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 31, at Heritage High School, 3741 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway. There will be arts and crafts, kids activities, punt-pass-kick competitions and T-shirts for sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning at 4 p.m., eight local bands will perform, including Jeff Jopling, Eric Spurgeon, Jason Stinnett Band, 3nails4given, Avenue C, Kudzu, John Titlow and Laurel Wright. At midnight, the football team will start hitting.
All proceeds benefit the Heritage High School football team. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for kids.
Coach Russell is excited about the festival. “It is awesome. This is the third year we’ve been doing midnight madness practice, but we’ve never done a festival with bands and arts and crafts,” he said. “It is going to be a big community event, and I’m excited about the potential exposure it is going to give our team.”
Russell said this is an opportunity for the community to have a fun day and meet the team. “It’s a unique event to celebrate the football season and the beginning of contact and the count-down to that first game,” he said.
Athletic director Robbie Bennett liked the idea as soon as he heard. “I thought it was a great idea for our football program to showcase the kids. Hats off to our football program and our football boosters to come up with such a great idea,” he said. “I think it is going to be good for our kids and our community. It’s a great community event and we’re pretty excited about it.”
Booster club president Angie Whaley said the festival is just the tip of what is going on at Heritage this year. “We’ve really been working hard. We have had a huge attitude change this year. Everyone is pulling together, and we have a good feeling out there,” she said. “It is impressive. The boys have a great attitude and are excited and pumped up, and they know the parents are behind them.”
Vendors and sponsors are still being sought. For information, contact Whaley, at 865-223-2362 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.